I recently sat on a panel at the 3D print show London 2015 to talk about ‘The Meaning of Making – Progressing Perceptions.’ The Q&A session at the end was filled with excellent questions but one stuck in my mind particularly, “What makes a good maker?”
I think it is easy for people to be confused about the maker movement due to a lot of branding, terminology and buzzwords. The term “maker movement”, which could be anything from fully fledged business models to 3D printed model trains, is used to describe what is essentially people making things, which has happened for centuries. This ‘branding’ may make it seem harder to engage with than perhaps it is and that’s a big shame.
In my mind, a good maker can be described by looking at their personality traits, as opposed to learned skills.
So, what makes a good maker?
Collaborating – Working well with others is a massive understatement, in our community we see collaboration taking place daily. It’s the modern way of working that not only allows you to bring in new skills, but a fresh outlook on where to take a project next.
Always learning – They’ll go to talks, scan blogs, read books to pick up new skills and hone the old. The maker thirst for learning can not be quenched. This leads me nicely on to my next point.
Party hard – You could call it networking or letting down your hair. Either way, if there’s a show opening or a harmless lecture, a maker has an incredibly good knack for making things escalate quickly.
Curiosity – This is much the same as always learning but I feel it goes beyond learning. A maker will look at completely obtuse disciplines to see if they can mash or hack them into projects they are planning. For a maker the opportunity to add more is always appealing.
Commitment – If it’s broke, they’ll fix it. If that doesn’t work, they’ll try again. There will probably be a project that they meant to finish just after their masters and are still working on it 4 years later.
Failure – Sure it exploded, perhaps it set on fire and the kids aren’t getting those eyebrows back for a few weeks. But, the next one will work and the proper H&S steps will be implemented*. “It” will be great or at least the one after that will.
Pursuing interests – A good designer will subconsciously draw inspiration from every aspect of their life. Pursuing other interests, even if it’s just kicking a ball around with your friends will keep your mind fresh and allow other influences to creep in organically. Basically, switch off from projects regularly.
Working to your strengths – This might seem slightly anti point 2 and 4, but it really comes down to decision making in project management. Knowing when to bring someone in for a part of a project vs reading up and doing it yourself can save a lot of time and money. This gets easier with experience.
If you fancy meeting some of our makers or possibly becoming one yourself, then check out our events page to get involved.